July 15, 2012
Jesus sends out the twelve on a long and difficult mission. But he tells them they are to take no bag. Now, what sense does that make? Well, it would make a lot of sense if the disciples were traveling today by airplane. Checked luggage can quickly add a sizeable amount to your airline ticket.
But Jesus has a different kind of luggage in mind: not the luggage of clothes and hair dryers and toiletries, but a spiritual luggage that can weigh us down. Now, this luggage comes in a number of different designs, but today I want to offer three of them for your consideration. Jesus is asking us to leave behind the bags of our hurts, our fears, and our dreams.
None of us can move through life without being hurt in one way or another. Someone treats us with disrespect, dishonesty or even violence. A person we trust betrays us. Someone we love walks away. Even after we remove ourselves from the circumstances in which the hurt occurs, the scars from that hurt can still follow us. They become heavy baggage that we carry from one place to the other. Such baggage says to us, “You are broken. You are worthless. You are damaged goods.” Jesus asks us to leave behind the baggage of our hurts.
Fear is not a bad thing. Fear serves a positive purpose of identifying and preparing us for danger. But, once we have done all that we can have to prepare, fear loses its value. Then, holding on to fear can turn into a continual worry that undermines us and paralyzes us. It is like carrying a bag of heavy stones with us wherever we go. Fear says, “The worst is going to happen. It is not going to work out. Things will certainly fall apart.” Such fear allows us to do very little. Jesus asks us to leave the bag of our fears behind.
Usually we think of dreams in a positive sense. They can be so when they motivate us and inspire us. But there are some dreams that are really impossible, and these dreams hurt us. They are dreams we want but have very little chance of achieving. Some goals are illusionary. Some people will not change. Some circumstances will not improve. When we insist on holding on to such false dreams, they become like a heavy cargo trunk that weighs us down. It robs us of our rest. It robs us of our joy, because we are always chiding ourselves for doing what cannot be done. Jesus asks us to leave the trunk of false dreams behind.
Clearly Jesus sends us out on a mission of love and service. But he wants us to travel light. What kind of useless burdens do you insist on bringing with you? What kind of heavy luggage are you determined to check for your flight? Jesus reminds us that such luggage is unnecessary. He asks us to leave the bags of our hurts, our fears, and our false dreams at home and fly free.